Peñas Negras #3 Mexico
Peñas Negras #3 Mexico
12 oz / 340 g
Producer / Smallholder Farmers
Farm / Peñas Negras Community Region / Peñas Negras, Pluma, Oaxaca
Variety / Pluma Hidalgo
Processing / Washed & Patio Dried
Elevation / 1500-1800 masl
Notes / Apricot, Milk Chocolate, Toasted Pecan
All orders placed by Monday night are roasted and shipped on Tuesday.
The deeper we get into the world of Mexican coffee, the more excited we get, and those
of you who have tasted the coffees or met some of our producing partners know why. Right now,
we’re looking at Pluma, a subregion of Oaxaca that brings with it an incredible history along with
incredible coffees. Boasting the singular Pluma Hidalgo variety, an offshoot of Typica, at elevations
as high as 2200 masl, Pluma coffees bring with them a wide range of flavors: distinct dried fruit
notes like raisin and prune, saturated sweetness like brown sugar, richness like drinking chocolate,
complex malic acidity like green apples, and even florals like amber honey and peach blossom.
Over the last few decades, Pluma’s coffee production has evolved dramatically, shifting from the hands
of large estates into the hands of local smallholder farmers. Nowadays, Pluma is almost exclusively
the province of smallholders with farms averaging just 1-2 hectares, but going back 80 to 100 years,
the coffee production landscape looked completely different. Huge, lower-middle elevation coffee
plantations ruled the territory, buying the higher-grown smallholder coffees and blending them into
their own bulk, undifferentiated despite their superior quality. In the late 80s and early 90s, Pluma
gained a widespread reputation for producing quality coffee. However, a combination of factors
including low market pricing and coffee leaf rust (known as Roya), saw estate holders abandoning
their farms and moving on to more lucrative ventures.
Once the estates were decimated, local smallholder farmers continued farming—mostly out of
necessity, though their operations were no more fiscally sound than the estates had been. Pluma’s
smallholders struggled to make enough to thrive and reinvest in their farms, and many have lived
on the brink of giving up and following in the footsteps of the estate holders before them. Without
access to a differentiated market where customers are willing to pay viable prices, there hasn’t always
been a real value proposition for Pluma’s producers to keep growing coffee.
Over the last couple years, we’ve seen this start to shift. Being able to introduce these coffees to a
group of buyers willing and ready to buy them at a viable price has started to build trust in this
region and reinvigorate local farmers, who are beginning to understand that their coffee is worth
more than they’ve always been told. They are ready to be able to dictate their own futures and gain
access to new pathways to finance and reinvest in their own success.
-Red Fox Coffee Merchants